International best selling author Roberta Matuson defines the different types of power in organizations, and provides advice on how you can acquire your share of power in your organization.
- It wasn't until I took a graduate course in power in politics that I realized that I was sitting smack dab in the middle of a highly political organization where power was the name of the game. It's too bad I didn't take that course in the beginning of my time there. I would've operated very differently, and most likely could've avoided battles that I was never prepared for. Power comes in different forms and leaders need to learn how to handle each type.
For our purposes, I'm going to focus on two. The first is position power. This is the power you get by way of your title, kind of like the power you get when you are finally the parent and you get to say, because I said so. That is, until your kids become teenagers. Here's how this scenario would play out in a typical business situation. Say you are a director, you have more influence and control in the organization than someone who is a supervisor.
With this comes a certain level of authority. So, for example, if you ask a line employee to do something, chances are he'll hop right to it, whereas if his peer makes the same request, he may or may not oblige. The way to gain this type of power is through a promotion or by taking a higher level job elsewhere. The second kind of power is what I call personal power. This type of power is based on the influence you have over others, the source of which resides in the person instead of being vested by the position he or she holds.
Leaders with strong personal power forge deep relationships built on trust, honesty, and cooperation. While writing my book, The Magnetic Leader, I had the opportunity to interview some of today's most irresistible leaders, all of them have high levels of personal power and do not rely on their position power to get things done. People love working for these types of leaders and they will jump through hoops in order to do what's asked.
Here are three ways you can quickly build personal power and your magnetism. The first way is to be transparent. When you're asked for something to be done, give a reason. When you help people understand why they're doing what they're doing, you allow them to feel like part of the process. It's okay to be brief, and even if you have to say, I'm not at liberty to say, transparency will build trust and trust is an important component of personal power.
Whatever you're doing, whenever you interact with people, be authentic. Nobody likes a phony, be yourself. People may not like everything about you, but they will like the fact that you are genuine. They won't have to worry about which version of you will be showing up at any given time. And put others first. Be the person who is always looking for ways to help others. This will help you to build a strong following, which is really what personal power is really about.
As you look around in your organization, focus on how decisions are being made. You'll soon see that those who rely on personal power have employees who are as committed as opposed to compliant. Begin building your personal power and magnetism by being authentic, transparent, and by putting others first. And who knows, I may be writing about you in my next book.
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